Haibun: Today’s Menu

For Susan’t prompt at Poets United Wednesday Motif: Zero Tolerance. Not one of my usual spare haibun.

Haibun: Today’s Menu
“Kindness is free.” Anthony Bourdain

Today’s Menu: Steamed cabbage, cole slaw, cabbage rolls made with deer meat, mashed potatoes, apples and oranges for dessert, white loaf bread. Tomorrow the meal will be tuna casserole with lots of noodles, cole slaw, restaurant donated desserts. All these items have been made with donated food – rotten pieces cut off from vegetables, meat donated by local hunters, dried milk to add protein in the potatoes. I cut and cook and serve along with the other volunteers. At 11:00 people begin lining up for their daily meal. They shuffle through the line – some of them with their eyes down, others bright and cheerful, some resigned, all of them grateful. No keto diets, no special needs meals, no no-carb meals, no I’m vegetarian or vegan. They are all hungry. They eat what they are given. They want some of everything. They eat it all and when everyone has gone through the line and all the places at the tables are filled and all are fed, they come back for whatever leftovers are offered. We smile at everyone. We plate the food carefully rather than slopping it on a plate. We try to give respect. I volunteer three days at week at a local food bank cooking food, making up bags of donated staple food, serving it and washing dishes afterwards. I look them all in the eye. This is the face of America. These are the invisible hungry in our midst. I have zero tolerance for hunger.
spring-like winter day –
the hungry come every day –
a chill in the air

Hope: We all are one

I am not always the fastest or brightest of the group. I freely admit this. But when I do get.it. – I am forever changed. It came to me last night, while watching, of all things, 60 Minutes. A segment was on the war in Syria, refugees, starvation – the whole gamut of horrible. The UN has a world feeding program trying to do what it can. In the midst of the desert, in a huge refugee camp, this organization has established a feeding program. No, it is not the usual feeding en masse people bowls of the same food at the same time. A grocery has been built with food the refugees can shop for with vouchers. They get to choose what food they want.

Tears flowed when I viewed a simple image: a woman sprinkling mint(?), parsley(?) over a dish she had prepared for her family. Really? A starving baby brought tears but this woman fixing a meal for her family made me weep? Yes, it did; gut wrenching sobs as I thought of this family’s trek over miles of desert, hunger, fear of separation…and here they were: safe, together, fed, filled with…Hope. By the simple act of being able to prepare this meal, to put her personal touches on the dish, for them to sit down and be able to eat together as a family. I cannot tell you how this moved me. That image reached across an ocean of culture, age, circumstance and reminded me of what it is that keeps us all going: Hope.

On this first Sunday of Advent, the spiritual meditation is Hope. We don’t have to be Christians or have a Christian based belief for Advent and its seasons: Hope, Peace, Love, Joy. Anybody out there disagree with those dreams of Hope, Peace, Love, Joy? These dreams are for us all. Hope is for us all. We hope for a better world, even when we are at our most cynical.

Hope for those of us with a chronic or fatal disease or watching someone we love with that disease, hope for those of us who are hungry, hope for those of us filled with sorrow, hope for those of us struggling with addiction, hope for those of us crushed by guilt, hope for those of us who want to be loved, even animals in rescue shelters get a certain look on their faces when they see someone coming towards them – we all have hope. We all are one.

In the midst of all the rampant consumerism of this time of year, the urgent crazy busy activities, business stuff, party stuff, buying stuff….in spite of this HOPE is still the motivator. Hope for a world where we all are fed, housed, healed, loved, needed. I will not let my Hope be overwhelmed by all the craziness. I will take time to be still, to look at the stars, to gaze at the blue sky, to notice even pigeons flying overhead. They may be a part of a crowded grey cityscape, but still they soar above it. They spread their wings and move on the wind. HOPE. Take a moment and send thoughts of Hope out around you and let it become part of the world at large – scream the word HOPE into the wind, whisper it into the ears of your child, give it to someone who needs it, give it to yourself.

I am posting a video along with this. It is not your typical religious Advent video. I know in my heart, Advent – the coming of Hope, Peace, Love, Joy – is for us all, regardless. This video is by World Order, one of my favorite music groups. They are Japanese. Frequently, their music and dances take place in the middle of busy life – dressed as “salary men”, World Order is anything but the general salary man. All around them, busy busy busy – people moving fast, running to work, being crammed into commuter trains. In the middle of this, the men move slowly and deliberately, apart from the hectic world around them. It is easy to be overwhelmed by all the machines, the noise, the tasks, the must-buy-this mentality.

“Machine Civilization” was written and filmed after the horrific earthquake and tsunami of several years ago. The “main man” of the group, Genki Sudo, urges people to rise from the destruction and rebuild. He also warns of that machine civilozation taking control and of humans losing their hearts, souls, awareness of…HOPE. At the end of the video, we see and hear a bell being rung for those who were lost, but also, for those who survive. “We all are one”. We all desire peace, hope, love, joy: we all are one. I have provided a translation for you below the video.

Machine Civilation
In the morning of machine civilization,
lost shadows, behind their red shields,
wrapped in their grey uniforms,
are imprisoned in the mechanical rhythms.
It’s always the same scene everyday,
where production lines march on nonstop.
However, something is missing
in the twilight of machinery.Where’s the world going?
Won’t somebody tell me?
Are these thoughts illusion?
Are we all one?
Will this world be able to change?
Are these thoughts illusion?People find work to be done.
Humans work, birds sing,
and then they fall into a deep slumber.
“Open your eyes!” He shouts.
It’s always the same scene everyday,
and we live in this brief moment.
Someday we’d surely want a revolution
in the twilight of machinery.Where’s the world going?
Won’t somebody tell me?
Are these thoughts illusion?
Are we all one?
Will we be able to change these thoughts?
We will always smile to our dreams.(Are these thoughts illusion?)Where’s the world going?
Won’t somebody tell me?
Are these thoughts illusion?
Are we all one?
Will we be able to change these thoughts?
We will always smile to our dreams.break through
paradigm
in your mind
revolution
desire
science
ascension
thirteen
white shirt
white shirt
white shirt
black shirt
black shirt
singularity
we are all one
are we all one

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